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Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday

On Friday 7 October 2011 the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, offered his greetings and best wishes to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one-time member of the WCC staff and former general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

07 October 2011

Your Eminence,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.

I write to you on behalf of the World Council of Churches, a global fellowship of 349 churches in more than 110 countries and territories seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service of which you are very well acquainted to offer birthday greetings. We give thanks to God for the lives you have positively influenced in your 80 years. Your life is a sterling demonstration of commitment to a clear faith in God’s constant presence.

I am thankful for your long support and partnership with the World Council of Churches, as well as the work of the Norwegian church partners, particularly related to the long anti-apartheid struggle. The last time I had the opportunity to personally engage you was in Copenhagen as we met to struggle with the difficult questions related to climate change. I felt then, as I have often, the spiritual strength and encouragement of your presence and your leadership. My faith in the God of justice and love is certainly strengthened by you.

Yours is perhaps the most recognized Christian face and voice. We are thankful for your faithful witness and your steadfast leadership in the ecumenical movement as you have tirelessly worked for peace and justice. You have continued to use your recognition as a faith and world leader and Nobel Peace Laureate to be the public voice of and to champion the causes of those who are often voiceless and powerless, receiving no recognition—those Christ called “the least of these”. Your warm and convincing expression of the Christian faith deserves to be emulated by all who bear the name of Christian.

On this anniversary of your birth, we thank you and our God for your life and pray that God will continue to bless you with strength and witness for the work that still lies before you as you seek to faithfully live out our calling in Christ Jesus.

Yours in unity and solidarity,

Rev Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit,

General Secretary